Redesigned in 2006, the Toyota RAV4 receives some refinements for 2007. Front side airbags and front and rear curtain airbags with roll-sensing capability are now standard on all models. As well, there are two new option packages: a B Package of heated leather seats on the four-cylinder RAV4 Limited, and an optional power sunroof on the RAV4 Sport V6.

The RAV4 is available with two engines, a 2.4-litre four-cylinder mated to a four-speed automatic, or a 3.5-litre V6 hooked to a five-speed autobox, both with transmission coolers. Both engines feature Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i) technology and aluminum blocks and heads.

All models also use Toyota’s “Active Torque Control” four-wheel drive, which allows the vehicle to switch continuously between front- and four-wheel drive mode (a front-wheel-drive-only version sold in the U.S. is not available in Canada). A manual locking switch allows a maximum torque split of 55/45 between the front and rear wheels, under speeds of 40 km/h. All models also feature vehicle stability control and traction control; V6 models come with hill-start assist and downhill assist control.

Four-cylinder models come in Base or Limited trim lines, while V6 models are Base, Limited and Sport. The V6 Limited model has a third row of seats, for a total of seven-passenger seating.

Both Base models include 17-inch steel wheels, CD/MP3/WMA stereo with six speakers and auxiliary input jack, air conditioning, 60/40 split folding rear seat with recline and slide adjustment, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, Optitron gauges, tilt wheel, cargo cover, cargo net, floor mats, cruise control, cargo lamp, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers with de-icer, rear intermittent wiper/washer, roof rack and soft spare tire cover.

Both Limited models add 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, six-CD/MP3/WMA stereo with auxiliary input jack and wheel-mounted controls, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, premium cloth seat fabric, eight-way power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped tilt and telescopic wheel, footwell lamps, privacy glass, fog lamps, chrome grille, power sunroof, splash guards and molded spare tire cover. The Limited V6 includes the extra row of seats.

The V6 Sport model builds on the Limited, and adds 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, fender flares, soft tire cover, Sport badges and black headlamp surround.

The RAV4 has grown in size and weight, and while the four-cylinder was sufficient for the previous generation, it’s somewhat underpowered in this new edition; the V6 is a much better choice, and it’s not that much of a step up price-wise. The 60/40 rear seat folds entirely to create a flat luggage space, without the need to flip seat cushions or remove head restraints; two-row models have an under-floor rear storage box. That’s a better choice anyway, as the third row is cramped and suitable mostly for children. The new standard airbags add to passenger safety, and in 2008, RAV4 production will move from Japan to a new facility in Woodstock, Ontario.

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